Regular readers of TGS will know that another passion of mine is local history; and it would seem that recently, I keep coming across stories of haunted pubs in and around the Leeds area. A result of too many pints of Tetley’s, or genuine scary stories? Pubs do seem to attract the odd lost soul.
Take TGS favourite The Palace; a ‘gray lady’ resides there, although no one can really pick out a figure from the pub’s history that would fit the bill whilst they were alive - some even think it's a man dressed as a woman, in fact. Staff of the Queens Hotel in City square tell of sharing their work with a number of ghosts – particularly two men; one victim of a shooting and one hanged man. My favourite inner-city pub ghost tale has to be that of The Old Red Lion, situated opposite The Adelphi. The upstairs rooms there supposedly rattle with goings-on; girls being seen at the windows despite the rooms being empty, and even blood dripping from the ceilings onto drinkers! The doors to these rooms now remain locked. Awesome stuff. The Golden Lion also has reputedly been the site of sightings of a man dressed in Victorian clothes, striding up and down the basement.
My local, The Abbey Inn in Newlay, is a treasure-trove of paranormal activity. It’s even been on the telly for this reason - Bar stools re-arranging themselves, piled on top of one another like Jenga bricks. The rope on the bar-bell swinging when no one is around it; ashtrays and such flying across the bar. Perhaps the most perturbing is the spooks’ habit of making the handpumps keep going once a pint is filled. Its ok poltergeists stacking furniture, but beer wastage is bad enough for a landlord to manage without cheeky spirits emptying casks.
Further afield, The Black Bull in Otley reports heavy footsteps in the upstairs rooms, ‘unpleasant feelings’ and people having their faces stroked by unseen fingers, and the ghost of Branwell Bronte haunts the Black Bull pub in Haworth, another pub that I've sank more than my fair share of pints in. Although these are my favourites, it would seem almost every moderately old pub has a friendly (or not so) friendly ghost wanting to share a pint with you. So beware – that ‘cold spot’ you might inadvertently sit may not be a draft from an open door – you could be sitting on the knee of someone who’s been sitting on that barstool for a very long time...